Man victimizes mentor, gets 4 years’ probation

WAILUKU – A Lahaina man who said he was “selfish” when he burglarized his mentor’s home and stole property has been placed on four years’ probation.

“Hopefully, one day I can apologize,” Benson Panis, 20, said in court on Feb. 11. “I feel really bad for what I did. The loss of his friendship, that’s something I can never get back.”

Panis had pleaded no contest to first-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

Two computers and a PlayStation 3 were stolen in the break-in on April 10, said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura. She said the computers were pawned at South Maui Gold and Loan.

The burglary was reported at the home of a police officer who had been a mentor to Panis, Hura said.

While the officer still cares for the defendant, “he just has a lot of trouble trusting him,” Hura said. “There’s a trust that’s been breached.”

It was the first time Panis has been in trouble as an adult, said Deputy Public Defender Shelly Miyashiro. She said that the 44 days Panis had previously spent in jail “was a wake-up call.”

She said Panis was working to address a substance abuse issue.

Following terms of a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza ordered no additional jail for Panis. He was ordered to pay $345 in restitution and to write a letter apologizing to his mentor.

In another sentencing Feb. 12, a 43-year-old Wailuku man was ordered to serve a 30-day jail term after violating terms of a plea deal that could have kept him out of jail.

“You had a very good plea offer and you basically violated that plea offer by going out and using drugs,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Kevin Cadorna.

While he was out of jail, Cadorna didn’t report to the Maui Intake Service Center as required and tested positive for amphetamine use.

Cadorna had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug in connection with his arrest in September.

Police found Cadorna with drugs after reports that a man was threatening people with a rifle in Pukalani and found him in a vehicle matching the description about 45 minutes later, said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones.

Although police didn’t find a firearm, they did find drugs, she said.

Deputy Public Defender Jared Brickey said he believed Cadorna was allowed to enter a plea to a reduced charge because he could have sought to have evidence suppressed from what may have been an illegal a traffic stop.

Cadorna had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug.

Brickey said Cadorna was likely to succeed on probation.

As part of one year’s probation, Cadorna was ordered to perform 75 hours of community service.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at